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Sleep-laughing – Hypnogely

  • Nikola N. Trajanovic (a1) (a2), Colin M. Shapiro (a1) (a3) and Srdjan Milovanovic (a4) (a5)
Abstract:
Objective:

To explain relatively common phenomenon of laughing during sleep and help to better define criteria for differentiating between physiological and pathological sleep-laughing.

Methods:

Observational study of patients who underwent a sleep assessment in a referential tertiary health facility.

Results:

A total of ten patients exhibited sleep laughing, nine of whom had episodes associated with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Also, in one of the patients sleep-laughing was one of the symptoms of REM sleep Behaviour Disorder, and in another patient sleep-laughing was associated with NREM sleep arousal parasomnia.

Conclusion:

The collected data and review of literature suggests that hypnogely in majority of the cases presents as a benign physiological phenomenon related to dreaming and REM sleep. Typically, these dreams are odd, bizarre or even unfunny for a person when awake. Nevertheless, they bring a sense of mirth and a genuine behavioural response. In a minority of cases, sleep-laughing appears to be a symptom of neurological disorders affecting the central nervous system. In these patients the behavioural substrate differs when compared to physiological laughing, and the sense of mirth is usually absent.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Sleep Research Unit, UHN TWH MedWest, 221-750 Dundas St. W., Toronto, Ontario, M6J 3S3, Canada. Email: hypnogely@gmail.com
References
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Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
  • ISSN: 0317-1671
  • EISSN: 2057-0155
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-neurological-sciences
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